United States Conducts ‘Mapping Exercise’ to Support Health Sector in St. Kitts and Nevis

(From left) Dawn Crosby and Kylie Ingerson of Abt Associates, the implementing partners of the SHOPS project, discuss the data mapping exercise with USAID director Daniel Smolka and U.S. Ambassador Dr. Larry Palmer.

What role can the private sector play in improving the nation’s health?

This was the question which was examined in-depth on Tuesday when the U.S. Embassy, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), handed over the private healthcare provider registry. The registry was compiled during a mapping exercise conducted under the Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project.

U.S. Ambassador Larry Palmer noted that public-private collaboration on health was crucial, saying: “The most successful health systems are ones in which the public and private sectors work hand-in-hand to promote effective and efficient service delivery.”

Ambassador Palmer urged the medical professionals present to “redouble efforts to find sustainable, efficient methods for addressing health needs by utilizing all available resources in-country.”

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Health Marcella Liburd.
(From left) USAID director Daniel Smolka, with U.S. Ambassador Dr. Larry Palmer with St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Health Marcella Liburd and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Andrew Skerritt.

This point was underscored by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Health Marcella Liburd who said that the country’s recent reclassification as a high-income country and the resultant cuts in external health funding would mean that more collaboration was needed to meet health care needs.

“In my mind it poses an opportunity for greater local, private-public sector partnership which this exercise is all about. [It promotes] shared responsibility and sustainability of our health system,” said Minister Liburd.

To this end, she thanked the United States for supporting the project, noting that this was part of USAID’s long-standing and “unparalleled” contributions to improving health care in the Eastern Caribbean.

The comprehensive register contains basic information about 45 private medical facilities, including doctors, laboratories, pharmacies, nursing homes and dental practices. The register also provides a breakdown of the types of services, hours of service, staff, supplies and equipment of the various providers.

USAID’s implementing partner Abt Associates made several recommendations as to how public health officials can use the information, such as identifying areas for increased cooperation or further training.

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